Rifle Projects

Thanks to everyone that posted comments to my request for proposed ideas for my next rifle project. I want to take a minute and point out that this is for a build project. Thanks for some of your thoughts on buying M1As, SCARs, or LaRue rifles, but I am not looking for suggestions on BUYING a factory made rifle.

I am building one using what was an 80 percent lower*. I have a number of lowers that have been machined already, and are thus already legally owned firearms. They are waiting to be outfitted with parts and accessories. Building rifles has become a bit of a hobby in itself. Here are the posts on my last build:

This will result in an off paper, one of a kind rifle that I built myself. Since this is a build on an AR10 receiver, I am looking at a Faxon barrel and a good scope. Trying to play with some other pieces/parts to get a 2 MOA rifle. The last build is hitting 4 MOA with factory ammo. Maybe I can get 2 MOA with the one I have, if I get some better ammo. My direct supervisor at work is a precision shooter that builds his own rifles and handloads. He is hitting 4 inch groups at 700 yards and has said he will give me some of his hand rolled .308 to try out. That should tell me if it’s an ammo issue.

*Note to the fellas at the ATF: This was an 80 percent lower that was purchased and machined prior to you changing the law. As of the date that you passed the ban on homemade lowers, this was already legally a firearm, according to your own definitions. Since ex post facto laws can’t be made and they were legal to create at the time, I am within the law.

So don’t even think about killing my dog, my son, or shooting my wife in the face. Likewise, please don’t come and set fire to my house with everyone inside.

Safe Project

It’s arts and crafts day here in Sector Ocho. Read on for today’s project.

You will recall that Liberty safe is in possession of a backdoor code for their electronic locks, so I was looking at getting a new safe. I seriously considered getting a Champion safe. Since we are in the middle of gearing up to move, the nearly $7,000 price tag for a new safe just isn’t in the cards right now. It isn’t like my valuables aren’t worth it, I just can’t spend the cash right at this time. Still, something needed to be done.

It isn’t that I think that the lack of a backdoor will keep the FBI out of my safe. Let’s face it, the government has virtually unlimited resources. If they want in, they will get in, backdoor or not. The fact that a backdoor exists at all is where I have a problem. With all of the data breaches in the news, the mere existence of a backdoor is a significant liability. Some loser buys the safe backdoors on the Internet, and thanks to a data breach, now has my address and the backdoor combo to my safe. No thanks.

So I decided that I would replace the Sergeant and Greenleaf electronic lock on my safe with a Sergeant and Greenleaf mechanical lock, model 6730. The advantages:

  • The lock has a combination that can be set or changed by the user
  • Since it was the same make as the electronic lock, it fit without further modification.
  • There is no backdoor combination for mechanical locks.
  • The lock cost less than $100

The disadvantages:

  • The safe can’t be unlocked in the dark
  • Mechanical locks are slower than electronic locks.

Florida’s hot weather finally broke this week, so I could work in the garage without dying of heat exhaustion. (It’s routinely over 102 degF in my garage during the summer.) That means it was time to change out the lock. The entire job took slightly over an hour. It would have been faster, but my wife called me on the phone twice while I was doing it. Still, pretty easy. I started by pulling out the old electronic lock:

(not my actual safe lock, but similar to it)
  1. Four screws held the inner wall of the safe in place. Off it came.
  2. I clamped a set of vise grips on the door frame of the safe to make sure I didn’t shut the door and lock myself out by mistake.
  3. I clamped a second set of vise grips onto the relocker* (marked with red arrow in photo, above) to hold it in place
  4. I undid the four screws on the old, electronic lock and removed the cover plate and relocker bar.
  5. I unplugged the leads from the keypad where they plugged into the lock
  6. There were 4 screws holding the lock in place. I removed them, and the lock from the door.
  7. I removed the keypad from the front of the safe door.

Now I was ready to install the new lock. I followed the video that I found on YouTube.

A couple of notes here.

  1. I don’t have a dial ring alignment tool. It didn’t matter. I did it by eye and it worked just fine.
  2. I didn’t install the plastic bushing that the lockset uses for a bearing. That means my dial doesn’t turn very smoothly. I will have to take it all apart and install it, but I want to have a new slipway key before I try it, just in case I ruin the one that is in there in the disassembly. That means a trip to a locksmith for a new one.
  3. I used a Dremel with a cutoff wheel to cut the dial spindle. It worked great. I clamped the dial in a vise, and cut the spindle off by hand, then used a flat file to bevel the end of the spindle.

The hardest part was setting the combination. I had to do it three times before I got it right. I don’t know why I had trouble, but it was probably an I-D-ten-T error. I finally got it right.

After I set the combination, I tested the lock by locking and unlocking the mechanism four times before I trusted it enough to close the door. Now there is only one door (the front door) to my safe, and I am the only one who knows the combination. When my wife gets home, she will be the second person.

On a side note, I will soon have an SG electronic lock for sale. I think (but I am not sure) that the backdoor for each safe is unique to that safe. Since the lock won’t match your safe’s serial number, your safe may not be subject to a backdoor attack. However, I wouldn’t count on it. For all I know, the backdoor is 1-2-3-4-5, like an idiot would use on his luggage.


* the relocker has one job. If you look closely at the lock, you will see that it works by inserting a locking bar into the transfer bar of the bolt works, preventing it from opening. Dialing in the correct combination withdraws the locking bolt and allows the bolt works to function. Removing the lock will also allow the bolt works to function. A burglar can punch the lock out and gain access to your safe. A relocker prevents this from happening. Look at the photo, and you will see that removing the lock causes the relocker to drop down under spring tension and prevent the bolt works from operating.

Also, my thanks to Mel Brooks for making Spaceballs, one of the funniest movies of all times.

More on Super Safety

So a question was raised, asking if this super safety is similar to the Forced Reset Trigger that the ATF already decided was a machine gun. The ATF has deliberately reworded the statute in order to make it more to their advantage:

On March 25th, 2022 the ATF raided Rare Breed Trigger’s vendor and inhibited them from shipping triggers. Currently, the ATF is trying to classify these triggers themselves as a machine gun. The ATF issued an open letter to Federal Firearms Licensees on March 22 of this year. If you don’t have the time or inclination the read the letter about Forced Reset Triggers, the important part is below:

“ATF’s examination found that some FRT devices allow a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger. For this reason, ATF has concluded that FRTs that function in this way are a combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and hence, ATF has classified these devices as a ‘machine gun’ as defined by the NFA and GCA.”

“Accordingly, ATF’s position is that any FRT that allows a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger is a ‘machine gun,’ and is accordingly subject to the GCA prohibitions regarding the possession, transfer, and transport of machine guns. They are also subject to registration, transfer, taxation, and possession restrictions under the NFA.”

You will note that ATF even states that Congress defined a machine gun as:

Any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger

The ATF has engaged in some linguistic gymnastics to say:

FRT devices allow a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger.

Note that this isn’t what the statute says. Why is this important?

The FRT, Bump stocks, and the Super Safety all cause the operator of the weapon to hold their finger in position so that the recoil of the weapon causes the shooter’s finger to pull the trigger very quickly.

  • In the case of the Bump stock, the entire weapon is moving.
  • With the FRT, a spring is forcing the trigger to reset by using the bolt to push the trigger forward
  • The Super Safety is using the motion of the bolt to engage and disengage the safety, which on the AR will reset the trigger. The rate of fire is about 400 rounds per minute. Seems fast until you realize that the cyclic rate of the M-16 and the M-249 are right about 800 rounds per minute.

The ATF is going to go after any device that causes rapid fire. The way that an AR’s fire control system works means that it is fairly easy to modify for rapid fire that comes in about half the rate of FA. The ATF would declare all AR’s as machine guns if they thought they could get away with it.

Book Bans

Stories abound on so-called “book bans.” The right is pulling books from school libraries because they instruct children on how to perform sex acts upon other children or on adults. It’s a disingenuous argument. Librarians are acting all offended because a school is choosing not to carry books that are inappropriate for children. The books can still be purchased by those who choose to do so. They can still be read, are still being published. They haven’t been banned at all.

Not so with other books. It was just five years ago that the left cheered as Amazon pulled a book from its store. That book, published by Defense Distributed, was the text version of the step files required to 3D print the Liberator pistol. That book was subsequently banned by a US judge. It is no longer published. It can’t be bought. No one can read it, unless they find a bootleg copy from a site like Pirate Bay.


Bad Dancer asks for my thoughts on using reloads for defense. This comes up from time to time, and I don’t do it. Not because of the gun lore of a prosecutor using reloads against you, but because it just doesn’t make financial sense to me.

Let’s say that I wanted to roll my own ammo. What does it cost to roll your own? (all prices from Brownell’s, because I am doing a blog post, not writing a novel)

So call it $735 to load 1200 rounds, or about 61 cents per round. Winchester white box currently costs 26 cents per round and JHP costs 40 cents per round. Now I already know what the reloaders are going to say. They are going to claim that they can reuse the brass. (We aren’t going to be reusing used brass if we are making war shots, because you are either saving them for later, or you don’t have time to police a battlefield for your brass) But OK, let’s play that game. Let’s assume that you can load each brass case 10 times before it gets lost, damaged, whatever. That lowers your cost per round to 34 cents per round, which is still more than buying cheap factory ammo. Even if the brass is free, it still costs 32 cents per round.

However, if we are going to do that, let’s also consider that I have to buy the tools, so let’s call it $300 or so. Then there is also my time, which is worth something. It takes over an hour to load 1200 rounds. Then there is the chance that you will make a mistake and destroy one of your firearms with a double charge, which has a much higher probability of happening with a reload than with quality factory ammo.

So that’s why I have never really wanted to get into reloading. Hey, if you like sitting at the reloading bench and rolling your own, I support that. Don’t think that I am attacking reloaders. Shoot sports is filled with all kinds, and if you enjoy loading ammo, knock yourself out. Just don’t say that you are doing it to save money.

Dispersal of Forces

Now that there is a Red Flag law that will soon be signed by Biden, there are some realities that must be faced. Think about what the left has been doing and saying for the past two years: anyone who disagrees with Fauci is crazy, anyone who argues with a leftist is a fascist, and other arguments intended to make you an unperson. How easy has it been to get banned from social media? That same moron that complained about the meme you posted on Facebook now has the ability to send an armed SWAT team to your house to have you killed. SWATting on steroids.

Of course Red Flag laws will be abused. Divorce attorneys salivating at this idea.

Those attempts at destroying your First Amendment rights will soon be applied to your Second Amendment rights. The Disinformation Bureau will soon have a counterpart for guns, bet on it. The agents of the ATF have a collective boner at the thought of new budget money. Government informants will soon get rewards for turning you in.

I have experienced this first hand. A couple of years ago, I was made into a prohibited person, thanks to an ex-girlfriend who used allegations of domestic violence to get a domestic violence injunction from a court. It took me weeks to clear my name, thousands in legal fees, and was a real inconvenience.

The first hint that you have of this is there will be a knock at the door, and you will open it to find the cops standing there with a court order to take your guns. Now in my case, they were stupid. I handed them a couple of token firearms and the left without searching. I don’t expect cops in these future red flag cases to be so casual. So here is my suggestion:

The military has had a policy of “dispersal of forces” ever since nuclear weapons became a thing. The idea is not to put all of your forces in one spot, thereby ensuring that all of your weapons won’t get caught up in one giant fireball. We can do the same thing.

  • Make sure that you cache some of your weapons and ammo in locations away from your property. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
  • Bury some in the backyard. You do have some 6 inch CPVC, don’t you?
  • Have others at a trusted friend’s house.
  • If you get a visit from the confiscation police, don’t immediately go retrieve your cache. They will likely return, looking for you to do exactly that.
  • Best if those cached weapons are “ghost guns” or guns bought on the secondary market, so there is no record of you having them.

Be paranoid, because as we have explained here on this very website, someone IS out to get you. If you DO get raided, get the word out. Make sure others know that they are taking guns. Maybe you can keep it from happening to someone else.